Love wows locals with national youth 400 record on day four of Junior Olympics


Glen McMicken
Special to USATF
USA Track & Field

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Before Mother Nature dropped a storm of her own on the Irwin Belk Track Friday, home-state favorite Bryce Love of Carolina Elite showed a little lightning of his own as he ripped to a national youth record 51.76 in the midget boys' 400-meters prelims on day four of the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships at North Carolina A&T State University.

Love smashed the previous record of 52.90, set by Xavier Jones in 2007, and but for a bit too much wind would have laid claim to the national youth 100 record as well. Aided by a just-over-the-allowable 2.4 meters-per-second breeze, Love dashed to an 11.59 in the heats. The national youth record? 11.69, set in 2008.

Miami Northwest's Robin Reynolds, already a near-legend in youth track circles, added to her gold medal collection with a win in the intermediate girls' long jump, leaping a wind-aided 5.95 meters/19-6.25. She stayed busy the remainder of the day recording the fastest qualifying times in the 400 (52.60, a personal best) and 100 (11.68).

Finals in 18 field events dominated Friday's action on the medal stand. Windy and rainy conditions hampered the throwing events, and rendered most performances in the horizontal jumps illegal for record purposes. The top efforts of the day were turned in by Damion Johnson of Baldwin County, who won the young men's long jump with a very-windy 7.52m/24-8.25 leap, and World Youth team member Morgann LeLeux of Louisiana, who took gold in the young women's pole vault with a clearance at 3.85m/12-7.5.

Discus titles were won in impressive fashion by Aslynn Halvorson in the young women's division (46.64m/153-0) and Danny Block of Illinois in the young men's competition (57.50m/188-8).

Intermediate shot put golds went to Adrienne Alexander of Metropolis (13.43m/44-0.75) and Jordan Roos (16.48m/54-1), while Derek Eager of Seatown Express won the young men's javelin with a throw of 55.50m/182-1.

Andrea Guebelle of the Flying AJ's captured the young women's triple jump title with a leap of 12.45m/40-10.25, and Derreck Edwards of Track Houston won the intermediate boys' division at 14.42m/47-3.75w.

Other winners were: Mystasia Alexander of the LA Jets (midget girls' javelin); Kira Larson of Team Nodak (youth girls' high jump); Kennedy Blahnik of Wisconsin (youth girls' discus); Sasha Smallwood (intermediate girls' pole vault); Robert Dunning of First Light (midget boys' high jump); Sean Lee of USA High Jump (bantam boys' high jump); Kushaal Tadepalli of Valley United (bantam boys' shot put); and Hunter Hopkins of Rockwall Mustangs (youth boys' javelin).

Competition resumes Saturday at 8 am with prelims in the 400 hurdles.